A significant part of what we do in the Education Enhancement Team involves supporting academics, early career researchers and university staff in selecting digital technologies and strategies to share their educational resources with a large, international audience. This is for public engagement and outreach purposes, and usually with the intention of connecting with school teachers and students looking for help with their lesson planning and studies respectively. Four key ways we encourage academics to disseminate their research and learning materials are:
- Sharing content in Podcasts.ox and Oxford’s profile on iTunesU.
- Sharing materials in the Times Educational Supplement. See Oxford’s collection here and previous related post here.
- Contributing to community collection archives such as Europeana 1914-1918.
- Harnessing multiple social media channels to ‘get the message out there’ and develop their online presence in the process (Twitter, Facebook, blogging etc.)
In recent weeks I have been offering advice to researchers involved in a range of exciting projects, three of which I feel highly compelled to shed more light on within this space:
Mapping Greenland Project
Geology students Eleni Wood, Anna Bidgood, Chantelle Roelofse and Rob Fox were part of an expedition to Igaliku, SW Greenland as part of their Independent Mapping Project. During their trip, Eleni and Anna took the time to produce a short film about the project aimed at secondary school and sixth form level pupils. See this extraordinary video here. Eleni and Anna also blogged and tweeted about their experiences (sometimes having to call upon family members to send out tweets from a more stable internet connection- @MapGreenland). They now look towards creating more awareness for the video by sharing in the Times Educational Supplement and speaking at the award winning series of talks, Engage: Social Media Michaelmas.
Dr Jane Dyson, a researcher at the School of Geography and the Environment, has conducted meaningful socio-cultural work in the Indian Himalayas for over 10 years. On her most recent trip she decided to collect video footage with the support of freelance filmmaker Ross Harrison so that she could share her work with a wider audience, both academic and non-academic. The remarkable film entitled ‘Lifelines’ focuses on the experiences on one man in the village as a lens through which to explore themes of social change, problems and aspirations: http://www.lifelinesfilm.com/ Jane has been working closely with the Education Enhancement Team to design a set of teaching resources to accompany the video and prepare for sharing with the school community in TESConnect.
Bringing Science to Life
Staff at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, and scientist-turned-artist Dr Lizzie Burns have completed extensive work in bringing to life the thoughts and ideas of Nobel Prize winner Sir Charles Scott Sherrington to inspire a younger generation. Thanks to the Wellcome Research fund and Lizzie’s dynamic creativity, the work has involved working with a wide range of organisations (schools, the PGCE department etc.) and engaging others with science through the visual arts e.g. exploring the workings of the brain via poetry. The resultant project site offers teachers resources with downloadable PowerPoints for teaching science in primary and secondary schools together with notes and links to the National Curriculum. The team have now made these materials more accessible to teachers via the Times Educational Supplement and are looking into creating heightened awareness by employing a range of offline and online communication channels.
The Free Speech Debate
The next stop for me…working with staff at the superb Free Speech Debate to explore ways of curating, framing and sharing the learning content so that it is easily accessible and meaningful to sixth form teachers so watch this space!
If you are an academic/researcher/student/outreach officer based at Oxford University and would be interested in sharing learning resources in the university’s TES profile or gaining advice on using social media to disseminate your research then please contact Sarah Wilkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be delighted to hear from you and discuss your ideas.